Ghosts Penny Downie Photo by Idil Sukan
Ghosts Penny Downie Photo by Idil Sukan

Artistic Director of Northampton’s Royal & Derngate, James Dacre today announced that the venue will stage the world premiere of a brand new version by Mike Poulton of Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece Ghosts in April 2019, directed by Lucy Bailey, starring Penny Downie and Pierro Niel-Mee.

With Tony nominations for Fortune’s Fool and adaptations of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, Mike Poulton’s acclaimed plays also include Imperium for the Royal Shakespeare Company and A Tale of Two Cities for Royal & Derngate. At the Northampton venue, Lucy Bailey previously directed Gaslight and Love from a Stranger (nominated for the UK Theatre Best Touring Production Award in 2018). Her Olivier Award-nominated production of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution is still going strong at London County Hall over a year after first opening.

A shattering story of the consequences of secrets and lies, Ibsen’s Ghosts is a damning comment on the morality and hypocrisy of 19th century life and this searing new version asks if much has changed since it was written over 100 years ago.

Constrained for years by societal expectations, widow Helen Alving is determined to escape the ghosts of her past but when her son Osvald returns home it is clear that some legacies are impossible to avoid. With secrets kept and lies told, the ghosts of her husband’s actions demand bigger sacrifices now than ever before.

Helen will be played by Penny Downie, whose extensive stage and television credits include Hamlet in the West End and ITV’s Downton Abbey. Taking the role of Osvald is Pierro Niel-Mee, whose credits include Shakespeare in Love (UK tour) and Imperium, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Ghosts can be seen at Royal & Derngate from Friday 19 April till Saturday 11 May.

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